Policy Proposals  Business Law   Proposal for Early Resubmission and Enactment of the Antimonopoly Act Amendment Bill (Abolition of the Hearing Procedure)

April 10, 2013

Keidanren has published a proposal for abolition of the Japan Fair Trade Commission's hearing procedure conducted under the Antimonopoly Act. At the same time, Keidanren has also compiled a joint proposal with the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Japan Association of Corporate Executives, National Federation of Small Business Associations, Kansai Economic Federation and the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, all of which share the same position on this subject. The following is the overview of the proposals:

The current Antimonopoly Act in Japan, the Japan Fair Trade Commission investigates and decides whether to issue administrative orders (including payment of surcharges) when there is an alleged violation of the law. Recipients of such orders can apply for the hearing procedure for administrative appeal if they are not satisfied with the decision. This review system is called "post-order hearing system".

However, since the hearing procedure is primarily controlled by the JFTC, which virtually plays a double role as prosecutor and judge, the "post-order hearing system" completely lacks neutrality and fairness, and Japanese companies, as well as foreign business communities, have raised strong objections for many years.

In response to the voices of the business community, in March 2010, the government submitted an Antimonopoly Act amendment bill to the Diet, which sought abolition of the JFTC hearing procedure and introduction of trials at the designated district court. However, the bill was scrapped without any deliberation, as the House of Representatives was dissolved in November last year.

In order to realize the nation's growth strategy, it is vital to establish a system and an environment in which both domestic and foreign companies are able to actively conduct business activities. As corporate activities are getting more globalized, it is critically important to ensure the transparency and fairness of Japan's competition law and competition policy in harmony with those of the international community. Therefore, it is necessary to promptly resubmit and enact the once-scrapped amendment bill during the current Diet session.